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Getting Started with Personalization - How to Define and Identify Segments?

We’re dedicating the sixth article of our personalization series to the blueprint's first sections - segments and data. Learn how to define your target audience based on factors like demographics, interests, and more. Then, discover the power of data and find out how to collect info on page visits, ad intent, and user actions. It's like putting together a puzzle - read the article to see how the Blueprint slowly takes shape.

"Begin, and you are halfway there."
- Alfred Armand Montapert

Nothing could be truer than this. Since our series kickstarted in late November, it's hard to believe we're not just halfway but well past that point. It's a bit melancholic, but let's not dwell on that because there are still plenty of articles to dive into.

In our last piece, we introduced the Adaptive Website Blueprint – a handy guide covering everything your team needs to consider for building an adaptive website. This Blueprint breaks down into sections like Segments, Data, Content, Components, and Initiatives. In the fifth article, we focused on the initial step of outlining the WHY behind creating an adaptive website by filling in the section dedicated to the Ideas, Goals and KPIs.

Now, we’re ready for the sixth article - quite a responsibility, right? And you know why?

Ancient Greek mathematicians called 6 a "perfect" number because it's the sum of its positive proper divisors (3+2+1=6). It's also the result of multiplying the first female number, 2, and the first masculine number, 3.

So, with the weight – or grace – of perfection in mind, we're dedicating the sixth article to the blueprint's initial sections, covering two crucial subjects: segments and data. Who’s your target audience and how do you identify them?

Let’s start with the first topic, trying to make the explanation as this number wants, perfect!

Segments - Who’s your target audience?

Our blueprint kicks off with a focus on the most vital aspect – the audience. After all, what's more important than people?

It is imperative to clearly define who we want to reach with our future adaptive website. To do this, we'll identify key factors that our content can adapt to.

  • Demographic factors include measurable traits like age, gender, profession, and life stage.
  • Purchase intent factors involve the intention to buy things in a specific market, covering products and services such as events, cars, clothing, along with budget and buying stage.
  • Interest factors are based on hobbies or passions, offering insights for engagement on entertainment and media websites. This includes interests like books, art, food, finance, and more.
  • Environment factors provide details about a visitor's situation based on their location during site visits, considering elements like time and weather to create segments based on their current context.
  • System factors give us information about a visitor's operating system or device type when accessing the web application. This helps you tailor the user experience to match their technological setup.

While all identified factors, including demographic traits, interests, environment, and system-related details, hold relevance, our research highlights purchase intent as the most potent driver for effective personalization. Understanding the purchase intent of our visitors is key to creating a truly adaptive website and that’s why focusing on the intent factor takes precedence.

Let's illustrate some examples of segments using the factors we've just outlined.

Building on what we've started, let's persist with the Acme Lease example to populate our Blueprint. Begin by choosing just one or two important factors and a limited number of segments - it's the best way to see quick results for your adaptive website. Remember, less is more!

You can start with just one factor and 1-6 segments. We suggest keeping the number of segments limited for a straightforward approach. After working on this first section, your Blueprint is starting to shape up. Here's what you should have in your hands.

Data - How to identify segments?

Let’s move on to the second section – Data. You know how important it is to use data in today's world, right? If people are the key, data is the tool that helps you identify these important segments. Have you ever seen Moneyball? It's a movie based on a true story that shows how powerful data can be. If you're unsure about what to watch tonight, give it a go.

In a nutshell, Moneyball tells the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Their manager, Billy Beane, had the tough task of building a strong team with a small budget. Beane introduced a sabermetric approach, a baseball strategy that leans on statistical analysis to make player recruitment decisions. He relied on data to find undervalued players with inexpensive contracts. Initially, not everyone was on board with this strategy, but when the team started winning, it highlighted the essential role of data in making smart decisions.

Now that we know how important they are, once you know the audience segment, let’s look how to gather this data. Start by pinpointing the specific data points you want to collect. Afterward, identify the data sources you'll tap into to collect these chosen data points.

Data points - What data do you want to collect?

  • Page visits: Check what pages visitors look at to understand what they're interested in, even if they’re anonymous. For example, if they land on a specific page or explore a topic overview, we can tell what their primary interest is. Not only this is the easiest data point to track, but it’s also incredibly effective, making it a great starting point for your personalization journey.
  • UTM parameters: When running online ads, use UTM parameters to track visitors from these campaigns. It helps know what visitors are after, i.e. their intent.
  • Custom events: Besides monitoring page visits, use custom events to track specific actions, like signing up or adding items to a shopping cart.
  • Search filters: If your site has filters, these settings are great for capturing visitor intent. For instance, when a visitor sets a budget range or filters by a specific brand, these choices become useful data points for creating segments.
  • Customer characteristics: Keep track of specific traits related to customers, like whether they are a member or not.
  • Form data: When visitors interact by filling out forms on your website, store relevant data. For example, if they download a tutorial, store the job function they entered.

Data sources - What sources do we have for the data?

  • Tracking snippet: To follow events like page visits, custom actions, and search filters, insert a tracking code snippet into the front-end application. This snippet sends events and data points to the personalization solution. The tracking snippet is connected to Prepr. If you're using Prepr as your CMS, you can easily use the tracking code to start collecting event data.
  • Customer data platforms: If your customer data is stored in an external system, like a CRM or a CDP, you need to create an integration to synchronize this data with your personalization solution.

After filling in the second section, the pieces of the Blueprint are coming together. Pretty cool, huh? More sticky notes, more ideas... it's like we just had a really productive meeting!

That said, we reached the end for today. I know, sometimes you want all the info right away, but as my grandma always says, "Haste makes waste." We like taking it slow, giving each part the time it needs so you can really soak it all in.

But no worries! "I will make you an offer you cannot refuse.

So here it is – catch you next week on Tuesday, for more of our personalization series. In the next article, we'll dig into the third part of our Adaptive Website Blueprint, Content and Components, i.e. exploring what content to show to the segments we defined.

So, how about that offer?

Getting started with Personalization

Now, are you ready to dive into Personalization? Starting your journey to personalize your website is easier than you think. If you're keen on the benefits of segment-based personalization, check out The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Personalization. You will learn how to create a personalized website with adaptive content that meets your visitors’ needs while boosting conversion by 30% or more.

Getting Started with Personalization - The Adaptive Website Blueprint

In this article, we'll describe how to build an adaptive website using the Adaptive Website Blueprint.

Getting Started with Personalization - Exploring an adaptive website: The Acme Lease case

In this article, we'll show you a real example of an adaptive website, proving how personalization can truly make a difference.

Getting started with Personalization - Which websites are most suitable for an adaptive approach?

In this blog article, we'll explore which websites are most suitable for an adaptive approach.